Armed Services Democrats Face Stark Choices At Markup

For Immediate Release:
June 12, 2019

Claude Chafin (202) 226-3988


WASHINGTON- At the markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) tomorrow, Democrats will have an opportunity to support an amendment offered by Ranking Member Mac Thornberry (R-TX) that would follow through with the recommendations of two Secretaries of Defense, senior military leadership, and the bipartisan National Defense Strategy Commission to provide 3-5% real growth in the defense budget. Read more about the Thornberry Amendment here.

Democrats will have to choose between restoring funding or following through on cuts to vital programs. Their choice will have serious consequences for our men and women in uniform and America’s national security. They include:

  • Reversing a $1.2 billion dollar cut to military personnel accounts that fund pay, housing allowances, bonuses, and other family support items, or running the risk that these programs will run out of money before the end of the fiscal year;
  • Spending $2.3 billion to repair military installations that were damaged by floods and hurricanes. Democrats have frequently criticized the President for funding border construction rather than rebuilding these very installations, even though their own draft of the NDAA ignores this critical need;
  • Continuing to restore readiness and turn around a crisis that has already cost too many lives by funding needed maintenance and training programs or asking our troops to do more with less;
  • Modernizing our military to deter Russia and China or allow our competitive edge to erode in key areas; and
  • Replacing funding for military construction projects diverted to border construction or make our troops- whose lives often depend on military infrastructure- pay the price for Washington’s partisan fights.

Leading news outlets are already taking notice of Rep. Thornberry’s amendment:

“Challenging The Democrats Vision”: “A day before Wednesday’s marathon markup where dozens of amendments will be dealt with quickly, ranking member Mac Thornberry offered up an amendment directly challenging the Democrat’s version, pushing the topline back to the Trump administration’s requested $750 billion from the Democrats’ $733 offer. – Breaking Defense 6/11/19

Proposed Increases: $1.2 billion for personnel accounts; $3.6 billion to backfill military construction projects raided for border barriers; $2.3 billion in disaster relief for hurricane- and flood-damaged military installations; $749 million for six extra F-35 fighters; $447 million for a new Navy fleet oiler ship; $707 million for NNSA nuclear activities; $441 million for ballistic missile defense; $140 million for nuclear modernization, including the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent; and $460 million for facilities sustainment and restoration.” – Politico 6/11/19

Budget Forces Pentagon to Make “Unwise Choices”: “…Thornberry insists budget caps have forced the Pentagon to make ‘unwise choices,’ and that the larger authorization is necessary ‘to restore installations damaged by extreme weather, military requirements identified by the Services, funding to maintain our nuclear deterrence and ensure its safety, and missile defense.’” – Washington Post 6/11/19

Aligns With Military Leaders: “Mr. Thornberry has long pushed for a 3% increase to the defense budget which aligns with testimonies of Acting Secretary Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, who have said that the military requires between a 3% to 5% funding increase to deter threats posed by Russia and China and improve military readiness.” – Washington Times 6/11/19

Disaster Relief: “A $2.3 billion provision for additional disaster relief funding for military bases damaged by natural disasters is not authorized in the bill, though it does make several provisions addressing climate change and resiliency, according to Thornberry.” – Washington Examiner 6/11/19

More For Hurricane Recovery: “Democrats have argued the disaster money no longer needed to be in the NDAA after Trump signed a disaster aid bill this month that included about $3 billion for storm-battered military bases. But the fiscal 2020 military construction spending bill also includes about $2 billion for hurricane recovery. The spending bill specifies that the projects must be authorized, making ‘the silence on this’ in the NDAA ‘important,’ the Republican aide said.” – The Hill 6/11/19

FW: Items of Interest

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